Parksville Community Park has made a significant step towards getting an upgrade in the form of a new outdoor theatre.
It’s been a vision of the Parksville Beach Festival Society for 10 years, said president Cheryl Dill. Now, with $204,000 of support from Island Coastal Economic Trust, the project is finally becoming a reality.
“It essentially doubles the fundraising that we’ve done to date,” she said. “It’s very exciting because it takes a whole lot of work to fundraise for such a large structure.”
The theatre will host small music groups, orchestras, plays, movies, Indigenous celebrations and more. The proposed design has the structure at 50-feet-wide by 35-feet-deep. Dill said having a place like this for hosting events would foster a deeper sense of community in Parksville.
“There just is not an adequate performance stage, an outdoor performance stage, and you know in communities these types of venues are major gathering places,” she said.
The PBFS has worked with the Parksville council for the past few years — the city would be the owners and operators of the theatre. Council put forward a federal grant on behalf of the society which, if received, would help them reach their full goal of approximately $1 million.
“With this significant financial support from ICET and the vision of the Parksville Beach Festival Society, we will soon have a new outdoor performance stage in the Parksville Community Park,” said Parksville Mayor Ed Mayne in a press release. “We look forward to this facility being available for our many community groups and organizations to bring new and exciting cultural events to Parksville.”
ICET forecasts the outdoor theatre will bring in 23,000 more visitor-days per year, which would bring $2.8 million to the regional and provincial economy.
“This type of strategic tourism infrastructure project enhances the attractiveness and livability of the city for residents, in addition to serving a vital role in creating the vibrancy and activity that keeps visitors coming back,” said ICET chair Josie Osborne. “Venues such as this also strengthen the region’s reputation as a destination for festivals and the performing arts.”
Construction on the project is expected to begin in late 2020.